Nuevo Leone….

Back to shooting personal work. Scanned from contact sheet; obviously needs much post color work but it sure feels good to be back at work while the moolah lasts…..(click image for larger version).

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Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab orisItaliam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venitlitora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram; multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem, inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum, Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.
Musa, mihi causas memora, quo numine laeso, quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casus insignem pietate virum, tot adire labores impulerit. Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

Urbs antiqua fuit, Tyrii tenuere coloni, Karthago, Italiam contra Tiberinaque longe ostia, dives opum studiisque asperrima belli; quam Iuno fertur terris magis omnibus unam posthabita coluisse Samo; hic illius arma, hic currus fuit; hoc regnum dea gentibus esse, si qua fata sinant, iam tum tenditque fovetque. Progeniem sed enim Troiano a sanguine duci audierat, Tyrias olim quae verteret arces; hinc populum late regem belloque superbum venturum excidio Libyae: sic volvere Parcas. Id metuens, veterisque memor Saturnia belli, prima quod ad Troiam pro caris gesserat Argis—necdum etiam causae irarum saevique dolores exciderant animo: manet alta mente repostum iudicium Paridis spretaeque iniuria formae, et genus invisum, et rapti Ganymedis honores. His accensa super, iactatos aequore toto. Troas, reliquias Danaum atque immitis Achilli, arcebat longeLatio, multosque per annos errabant, acti fatis, maria omnia circum. Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem!

Vix e conspectu Siculae telluris in altum vela dabant laeti, et spumas salis aere ruebant, cum Iuno, aeternum servans sub pectore volnus, haec secum: ‘Mene incepto desistere victam, nec posse Italia Teucrorum avertere regem? Quippe vetor fatis. Pallasne exurere classem. Argivom atque ipsos potuit submergere ponto, unius ob noxam et furias Aiacis Oilei? Ipsa, Iovis rapidum iaculata e nubibus ignem, disiecitque rates evertitque aequora ventis, illum expirantem transfixo pectore flammas turbine corripuit scopuloque infixit acuto. Ast ego, quae divom incedo regina, Iovisque et soror et coniunx, una cum gente tot annos bella gero! Et quisquam numen Iunonis adoret praeterea, aut supplex aris imponet honorem?

Talia flammato secum dea corde volutans nimborum in patriam, loca feta furentibus austris, Aeoliam venit. Hic vasto rex Aeolus antro luctantes ventos tempestatesque sonoras imperio premit ac vinclis et carcere frenat.

Illi indignantes magno cum murmure montis circum claustra fremunt; celsa sedet Aeolus arce sceptra tenens, mollitque animos et temperat iras. Ni faciat, maria ac terras caelumque profundum quippe ferant rapidi secum verrantque per auras. Sed pater omnipotens speluncis abdidit atris, hoc metuens, molemque et montis insuper altos imposuit, regemque dedit, qui foedere certo et premere et laxas sciret dare iussus habenas. Ad quem tum Iuno supplex his vocibus usa est:

Tea bagging the meatball…

Being Corsican and all, I cannot help but have a penchant for Napoleon Bonaparte, our illustrious compatriot. So, for the sake of a quick and easy blog entry, to smoothen the pot and refresh my memory, here are a few fresh quotes attributed to my illustrious Corsican compatriot(CC for short)….
What you may not also know is that Napoleon at the core, was a Corsican, and by that I mean that if you have grown up in that culture, the following quotes resonate a little more deeply because each have a Corsican folk tale equivalent; a mountain wisdom I am always reminded of everytime I spend time with my 96 years old grandmother.

These quotes are not the quotes of a single military and political genius but the work of a culture…..at the end of the day Napoleon was a true product of “The Enlightenment” and of Corsica…. I get this sinking feeling that generations of post Napoleonic thinkers have borrowed heavily from him and my grandmother….

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Bonaparte:

” In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”
” A leader is a dealer in hope.”
” The herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need. ”
” If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.”
” In politics… never retreat, never retract… never admit a mistake.”
” A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.”
” If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god. ”
” The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.”
” A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets. ”
” Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.”
” Doctors will have more lives to answer for in the next world than even we generals. ”
” If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.”
” The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man. ”
” England is a nation of shopkeepers. ”
” The French complain of everything, and always. ”
” Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools. ”
” Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. ”
” Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues. ”
” Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. ”
” Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows. ”
” Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
” Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. ”
” Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult. ”
” He who knows how to flatter also knows how to slander. ”
” History is a set of lies agreed upon. ”
” Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. ”
” Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. ”
” Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. ”
” We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him. ”
” When small men attempt great enterprises, they always end by reducing them to the level of their mediocrity. ”
” The human race is governed by its imagination. ”

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Corsica ( I tried my best to translate these quotes but I am not very good at it, hope you get the idea. In this image my aunt Noella and my grandmother Angele):

” Seguida chi camina, è micca chi si ferma.
Follow the one who advances, not the one who stops.
” Incù l’acetu ùn si piglia mosche”
You don’t catch flies with vinegar.
” Hè l’ochju di u patrone chi ingrassa u cavallu”
The master’s eye fattens the horse.
” In bocca chjosa ùn ci entre mosca ”
There ain’t no flies in clothed mouths.
” Cane abaghja e porcu magna. ”
The dog barks, the pig eats….
” Agnellu pasquale, caprèttu in Natale. ”
Newborn lamb for Easter, goat for Christmas.
” U tèchju un créde u famitu.”
The satiated does not believe the hungry
” Vésti un bastòne, pare un baròne”
Dress up a stick, he’ll look like a Baron.
” U mórtu allarga u vivu. ”
The dead make more room for the living.
” A chi nasce sumére un diventa cavallu”
A donkey does not become a horse.
” Tantu amòre, tantu disdègnu.”
So much love, so much disdain.
” A fa a barba à i suméri si pèrde saòne e tempu”
To shave donkeys is to both waste time and money.
” A bacia t’hà l’anchi corti. ”
Lies have short legs.
” A chì mali vivi, mali mori. ”
Live poorly, die poorly.
” A chi stanta, à chi scurnochja. ”
Some work, others dream”
” A raghjoni hè verbali. ”
Reason is spoken only.
” A volpi perdi u pelu ma micca u viziu.”
The fox looses his hair but not his cunning.
” A Paura faci cacà a mula. ”
Fear makes the mule shit.
” Aceddu in cabbia S’eddu un canta d’amori Canta di rabbia”
Bird in a cage sing of love or of rage.
” Babbi e mammi tonti, figlioli astuti. ”
Crazy parents, forewarned kids.
” Hè megliu à stà accantu un cacadori Cà accantu un zuccadori. ”
Better sit next to a shitter than next to a stone cutter.
” I più beddi peri i màngnani i porchi.”
The best pears are eaten by the pigs.

Minju….and/or….

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While doing a search on myself, which I do once in a while, to see what kind of nefarious plots are being hatched against me I came across a Google book chapter I wrote back in 1992 for Chinese Landscapes: The Village as Place-By Ronald G. Knapp-Published by University of Hawaii Press, 1992.

We simply can’t be afforded some well deserved obscurity anymore! Regardless, it is a peculiar reminder to see one’s 16 years old words available to the rest of the world….albeit in a truncated version; and especially when the original print run could not have been more than two thousand copies meant for scholarly and academic consumption(we all know what that mean).

Back in 1989, I endeavored to document the whole(!) of Chinese rural architecture and dutifully spent the next fours years traveling across every Chinese province in search of these elusive gems, which I can assure you, were not easy to find nor to get to, but that was the fun part.

To achieve my monumentally obscure event in architectural history I would travel to hub cities in each Chinese province and seek out architecture professors in local universities in the hope of picking their brains.

In so doing, I was often met with suspicion and/or disbelief and/or both (especially after Tiananmen) but invariably someone would direct me to a retired professor in a far off lane in Nanjing, Nanning or Luoyang… where I was once again met with disbelief but never suspicion, as they often shared my love of the Chinese countryside and of its vernacular architecture.

We would have tea or eat a meal together and these men (all men) would vaguely point me to a nebulous spot on a greasy map and casually mention that there used to be a beautiful Ming village somewhere around this or that county town but that he could not remember the name or would need to consult his mildewed notes back at the archives, unless of course they had been burned during the CR… but that’s another story…

As far as official China was concerned, those old “Minjus”(peasant homes) should all and would all be torn down to make room for brand new piles of concrete and tiles; three storied peasant rice bunkers…..unreinforced emblems of wealth and new found modernity and prosperity.
But to add insult to injury they seem to always be conveniently located in “closed” areas or near Red Army barracks; strategically positioned to no doubt protect said ramshackled villages from wandering village idiots(leading to my many and frequent arrests, usually followed by lavish banquets…sounds odd I know, but just trust me on this one).

Accompanied by such invaluable information, I would then take off on a local or long distance bus(or several dozen) to said county towns and armed with my own greasy map would try to figure out where the hell I was relative to my point of departure and where to tell the bus driver to drop me off; usually a crap shoot of largely comedic proportions.
This was once more met with more complete stupefaction by my traveling companions, given the fact that my very presence on any given bus was already marvelously bizarre, in a way a stark naked hermaphrodite might have been out of place in the back seat of a mid century Kansas bound Greyhound.
Some lone “Guai Lo”(foreign devil) wants to get off in the middle of nowhere, to look for “Minju”, which by then was once again met with either uproarious laughter or stern patriotic reprimands…not unlike casually mentioning the specter of new taxes to newly minted Republican conventioneers.

The door would remain opened for a minute or two as our bus driver, in the hope of silently luring me back inside, would smile pitifully uncomfortably; given the fact that I might have already been standing smack dab in a proverbial pile of pig shit.

Regardless, I have to admit, I get a big kick out of seeing that bus drive off while thinking to myself: “What the FUCK am I doing here?“.

So, twenty years on, one thing’s for sure, nothing much has changed…… and as they say back in the motherland: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”, and ” Wherever you go, there you are”….

Cut to bus driving off…